The Alberta Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has forced the University of Calgary to re-release part of an audit report, overruling censored information about a university payment to a PR firm that helped prepare and distribute a climate change denial video.
The audit report - censored and uncensored versions of which are attached - states that the University of Calgary paid APCO Worldwide more than $170,000 for “advice regarding video production, promotion of the video, distribution of the video, media relations services and other services.” These payments violated university policy on several levels and are also suspected of having broken federal tax laws.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.